I visited Candytopia a few weeks ago, another ‘museum’ type pop-up experience with candy as its premise this time. I’ll cut to the chase - this was a total IG trap, and unfortunately, not a very good one. After all its advertising, promotion, and social media influences, it was a total let-down.
It’s definitely a place to take cute photos - if you have enough time and room. Unfortunately, with this pop-up, there were a lot of flaws hindering you from getting the best experience. It starts off with the entrance gate. Too many people are crowded around it upon entering so I couldn’t get a nice photo of the gate - no one is really managing this well for people to get the best shot. I should’ve known from the start this was a bad sign. They don’t even limit the number of people entering at once. They simply put you all in a group and space it by time intervals but not by quantity of people so it’s the luck of the draw if the group you’re entering with is a big crowd or a small group. At other well done pop-ups, they limit how many people can go in at one time to not take away from the experience and overcrowd it so you’re waiting too long for a photo op or get rushed because you have to move on with your group. I got rushed at a lot of areas because the group simply had to move on because the doors were closing. And this was a one way pop-up, meaning once you have left a room, you can’t go back, only forward.
Next con, there weren’t really that many rooms in my opinion, at least they weren’t memorable enough for me to think there were a lot of rooms. And in the beginning that little hobbit-like “town” you walk though, is rather quick so you don’t even get to take any pictures there either so there’s a lot of wasted potential from being rushed through rooms. And the rooms seemed poorly put together like there wasn’t a lot of thought put into it or behind it. A lot of it felt really random, there wasn’t much really stringing the rooms together to make any sense of it. It felt like a cheaply put together Willy Wonka wonderland. Like I don’t really understand what Katy Perry’s statue was doing there. And a lot of the exhibits is wasted on these weird candy statues, candy paintings, and a candy car. I mean, I get it, Candytopia so everything’s made of candy, but it was all the same gummy mushy candy so it was kind of gross. There was no sealant or anything over the sculptures so basically everyone’s germs writhing all over the sugar confections. The sculptures weren’t that interesting either, to be honest.
The candy they gave out wasn’t really anything great either. It was all regular candy you can get yourself at the local grocery store. It would’ve been more interesting for them to give out different and unique candy from all over the world or something. Or at least rarer candy you don’t see often. I could probably get better treats during Halloween, actually. But I would say they gave out ample treats throughout the exhibit. There’s about one treat per room and you’re supposed to only take one per room but I’m pretty sure I saw people grab more than a few in each.
I found a lot of guests rude too. Some would take too much time on one photo op so it would take forever for you to have your own turn and in turn, other guests behind you get frustrated too. The workers there did their best to try and move things along but I don’t think they have much experience in handling this. They were nice and helpful as best they could but some people were just downright too rude for them to handle properly as well. You do get a decent amount of time in the marshmallow pit, which was basically the crowning jewel of the experience, but not enough time so that everyone can use the photo op that takes your photo for you and emails it to you. They didn’t have a lot of those either, actually. Like how Color Factory had photo op stations you could scan a QR at? Well, Candytopia only had 3 and they all had extremely unbearable lines so it was hard to get them.
Another thing to note, was the lack of ventilation in this space. It was in a big area but felt like they were skimping in AC. My sister started to feel sick from the lack of proper temperature regulation and had to sit down a few times because she didn’t feel well.
Candytopia is located at Penn Plaza on Penn Plaza at 145 W 32nd Street and tickets are priced at $34 a pop, but in my opinion, this is an experience you can skip. Spend $10 on a big bag of variery Halloween candy instead. There’s not really anything “interactive” about this pop-up and the waiting in line for everything didn’t really seem worth it for the photo ops. I’m not really in love with this place after walking out of it as well but it may have been from having a long hot day walking around the city as well, to be fair.
I would probably place this lower on the list of pop-ups I’ve visited, with the Egg House experience. I mean, go for the experience if you’re curious, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Before I went into it, my Californian friend even told me it wasn’t as great as she expected it to be from the California version and she said MOIC was much better. After my own experience, I would say I agree and that she was spot on. It’s okay but the Museum of Ice Cream was still much better. Disappointing since MOIC has been out forever so Candytopia had every chance to one-up the mother of all pop-ups.